EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP — Frederick P. Nickles, a former school superintendent and state legislator, died early Saturday, Mayor James “Sonny” McCullough said.
Nickles was superintendent from 1985 to 1997 and interim superintendent for the 2016-17 school year.
“He was one of a kind,” McCullough said. “Half of his achievements would make a man very successful.”
The district first hired Nickles in 1970 to teach history and physical-education at the Slaybaugh Middle School, according to Press archives.
Back then, the township was a K-8 district with about 2,800 students in numerous small, aging elementary schools. In 1972, Nickles, then 24, was asked to become an assistant principal at Slaybaugh.
He become principal at Slaybaugh and later at the high school, until becoming acting and then full-time superintendent in 1985.
Nickles was superintendent in the Atlantic City school district from 1999 to 2012.
State Sen. Jim Whelan, D-Atlantic, said Nickles was a “fun-loving guy” who also put his students’ interests first.
“He had great people skills. He got along with everyone,” Whelan said. “Fred always took his work seriously but never took himself seriously.”
McCullough credits Nickles with getting him into politics. Nickles served as a Township Committee member, mayor, Atlantic County freeholder, Republican state assemblyman in the 1990s and chairman of the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority as an appointee of Gov. Christine Todd Whitman.
“It’s remarkable what he accomplished,” McCullough said. “He just loved giving back to his community.”
Nickles’ age was not immediately available Saturday.